Mumbai, India - 23 December 2005: Indian Expert Fears Leopard Attacks Cannot Be Stopped

Leopard attacks in the large Sanjay Gandhi National Park near Mumbai (formerly Bombay) are very likely to continue, the park's deputy conservator of forests has told Indian news service IANS. has the story here.

In the wake of two recent attacks — Puja Pawar, a four-year-old girl, was dragged from outside her hut Dec 17 and killed by a leopard in the Manpada area of Thane district, and 50-year-old Laxman Choudhary was mauled on Dec 20 — P.N. Munde warned that man-animal conflict is only going to increase. Mumbai's population will likely grow to around 28.5 million by 2020 from the current 18.1 million, according to Washington, D.C.'s Population Institute.

"The leopard is a territorial animal and we cannot expect it to stay in one area. It has to move around," Munde said.

The park — located about 25 miles from Mumbai — saw 18 fatal and 12 non-fatal leopard attacks in 2004. Although a wall is presently under construction, there is no buffer area between the park and the city's shantytown suburbs.